Monthly Archives: August 2021

Introducing KentNet, the new staff intranet

The name for the new staff intranet, as chosen by you, is KentNet!

Thank you to everybody who submitted their votes and suggestions.

We now need your help to develop the new staff intranet over the next months.

KentNet will become the main place to go for:

  • University-wide news (replacing the Staff Guide)
  • University-wide resources
  • Departmental and divisional news, resources, events and information
  • Project information and document sharing
  • Specialist topic areas such as Copyright and Finance

By September 2022 SharePoint 2013 sites will become ’read only’ and will be withdrawn from use by the end of 2022.

Support available

Ahead of setting up your area, the Project Team will be holding meetings with key stakeholders to talk through how the intranet will work and what you want it to do for you. We’ve also put together a KentNet Support site with more information on what you’ll need to build your intranet area.

This includes guides on setting up your community site when it comes to it, where to store your files and data, and examples of early prototype intranet sites at Kent.

For further information contact: Izzy Linthwaite, Collaboration Services Owner, through Teams or email.

Kent People: Jacqui Double, Head of Colleges and Community Life

When did you join the University and why?

I joined Kent in 2012 as a Student Support Officer in the School of Arts. Before that, I was a schoolteacher and worked for ten years in patient advocacy and support for children and young people with long-term medical conditions. I liked the idea of supporting young adults and gaining more experience in HE so when a friend mentioned the SSO post I was keen to apply. I did some lecturing in Arts alongside the Student Support role, but support services were where my interests lay. Becoming Head of College and Community Life last year has given me the chance to have a wider reach and influence over student experience, support and welfare; it’s a perfect fit.

What does being Head of Colleges and Community Life involve?

The University has eight colleges to which all students are affiliated when they come to study here. The College and Community Life team builds college, community and belonging for students on and off-campus. We’re a small team with big expectations, made up of three College Life Officers, who host events, offer support and advice to our student college community, and one Community Life Officer, who supports transition into becoming local student residents in the Canterbury and Medway area.

As the Head of College and Community Life, I’m lucky enough to liaise with the wider student undergraduate and postgraduate communities, to share in their experiences and promote their voices, and to work with Student Union officers and central teams like House Keeping and Campus Security, to ensure the best experience for our students. I also engage with local community stakeholders, such as Residents’ Associations, Kent Police and Canterbury & Medway City Council officers, to promote student safety and integration. It’s a fascinating and rewarding role, and I am really enjoying it.

What effect has the pandemic had on your work and how have you responded?

The pandemic has been a challenge without a doubt but it has also been rewarding to see students and colleagues work so hard and creatively to support each other. The CCL team have been at the forefront of offering practical support to self-isolating students, including friendly texts and calls to mobiles to check how households are managing, sending out jigsaws and baking boxes to do together, and delivering gift-bags funded by alumni supporters to households living on campus. We have hosted events for all our students -, from remote coffee mornings and arts and crafts sessions on Zoom to a face-to-face Escape Room in our office and even outdoor mini-golf – allowing them to come together safely in line with Covid guidelines. With that experience, we are now planning wonderful welcome and social events across the coming year, which will support our new and returning students. If there are challenges remaining, we will be here offering support.

Students playing mini-golf

Looking ahead, what are you and your team planning over the next year?

We are very excited about next year. We will set-up our mini-golf course for Welcome Week, challenging students to complete every hole with bespoke obstacles and some great prizes to be won! Alongside this, we are aware that new and returning students may need more advice and support than ever to get that feeling of belonging and to make social connections. As well as our college BBQs and a welcome talk from me, we will have postgraduate volunteers, called Residential Life Assistants (RLAs), in all our colleges, supporting students to form a College Committee who can suggest events hosted by students for students. All are welcome to get involved by planning, hosting or simply joining in with the fun. Our Community Life Officer will be reaching out to students living in private term-time accommodation too, to give advice on how to stay safe, get on with your neighbours and get support from us.

One specialism in our team is mediation when housemates find it hard to settle into shared living together or need support making connections with others. There will be plenty of information on our College and Community Life webpages and social media, which I would highly recommend students look at and follow. Personally, I am very excited to see students face-to-face on our beautiful campuses and to watch them grow and thrive. That is what we are all here for, after all.

Students planting seeds in the Community Oasis Garden

Outside work, how do you like to spend your time?

I am very boring, I’m afraid. During lockdown, I have discovered the joys of growing my own food on an allotment. I benefit immensely from being out of doors, and growing delicious food is a real bonus. Hopefully, many of our students will benefit in a similar way by volunteering at our Kent Community Oasis Garden. To switch off completely, I turn to fantasy novels (Urban or Pratchett are my favourites) and, once everything is open again, I will be having a cocktail and watching a film in a little cinema somewhere by the sea. Bliss.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I ever received and still use every day is “Go to the right people for the right support.” That is so true and it has helped me through some very difficult times. I pass it on, and don’t mind talking about when and what the context was for getting this advice.

Woman working on a laptop

Counter-Terrorism training for managers

As part of our response to both Government guidance and the need to be prepared for any incident response, we will be shortly be hosting Action Counter Terrorism (ACT) Strategic and Operational Counter terrorism training for senior staff and key external partners.

These sessions are intended to give people a better of understanding of the threat from terrorism and the simple security measures that can be taken to protect a business or an organisation. It will give up-to-date training that will make everyone safer, helping those who attend to plan for and/ or respond to an incident or emergency at work.

The training sessions, which are being prioritised by both Executive Group and our wider Senior Leadership, will be facilitated by Counter Terrorism Security Advisors from Counter Terrorism Policing South East. Wider senior staff across the University can also now sign to attend, with two different types of session on offer:

ACT Strategic training is aimed at Executive Group (EG) and Senior Leadership (SL) members. ACT Strategic is a National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) initiative exploring ways to aid businesses in preventing against, managing, and recovering from a terrorist attack.

ACT Operational training is aimed at Operational and Customer facing managers, supervisors and staff in authority. ACT Operational is a NaCTSO initiative exploring ways to aid businesses in preventing, managing, and responding to a terrorist attack.

Training will take place in the Darwin Conference Suite on the Canterbury campus, with measures in place to ensure we meet all Government safety requirements regarding Covid-19. This will take place on the following dates:

  • Monday 06.09.2021        OPERATIONAL
  • Tuesday 07.09.2021         OPERATIONAL
  • Wednesday 08.09.2021   STRATEGIC
  • Thursday 09.09.2021       OPERATIONAL
  • Thursday 16.09.2021       OPERATIONAL
  • Friday 17.09.2021             STRATEGIC

How to book your place on the training:

Please contact Jess Sutherland (Prevent Officer) identifying person(s) attending (first name, family name, job title and email contact details), preferred training date(s), any vehicle details and any specific dietary requirements. This will be on a first come-first served basis and we will try to accommodate preferred training dates and numbers requested.

If you have been invited to attend the training and have not signed up, please do so now via StaffConnect. If you are a front line Manager or Supervisor who has not been invited yet, there are now opportunities for you to attend so discuss with your line manager to get their support and apply via StaffConnect.

New resource pack to help with planning a return to campus

As many more of us return to campus over the next few weeks, we have a new resource pack to help us prepare.

The Future of Work resource pack builds on our COPE Framework – developed in response to the first Covid-19 lockdown – and reflects feedback from our Future of Work Staff Survey.

Designed for staff and managers, the pack complements all the support already available across the University as we continue to work through uncertain times. It’s a pack to dip in and out of and think about, rather than something for you to try and absorb all at once.

What’s included

The resource pack includes sections on:

  • Reshaping our working environment – reflecting feedback from our Future of Work survey responses, including a call for line managers to have open, honest conversations with their staff and the importance of taking an inclusive approach.
  • Connecting with life on campus – underlining the importance of working together and supporting each other, acknowledging that some staff may be anxious about returning to campus, and the key role of line managers.
  • Managing meetings in a hybrid environment – planning inclusive communications as some team members are on campus and others work remotely. Reflecting feedback from staff, we are recommending a ‘virtual first’ approach for all meetings during the Autumn term.
  • Microsoft Teams etiquette – reflecting our increasing reliance on virtual communications, there is new guidance on day-to-day use of MS Teams, as well as advice on using the private chat tool, and setting up new sites and channels.
  • Health and wellbeing – highlighting resources, such as our Employee Assistance Programme and new Inclusion Passport.
  • Other helpful resources – including the Staff Guide, our Crucial Conversations programme and MIND.

Tell us what you think

Don’t forget to share with us by email on what you’re finding works for you in our new hybrid working environment, or anything you think would be helpful to include in future versions of this resource pack.

If you require the pack in another format to meet accessibility needs, please contact

To do list

Care first webinars w/c 23 August 2021

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 23 August –  Friday 27 August) webinars are as follows:

Monday 23 August 2021 – ‘How Care first can support you’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Tuesday 24 August 2021 – ‘Ways to reduce your carbon footprint’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 25 August 2021 – ‘Compassion fatigue’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 26 August 2021 – ‘Travelling with unvaccinated children and how to manage the risks’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 27 August 2021 – ‘Has lockdown made you more spontaneous?’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Kent Sport Centre building

Free spaces available for next week’s holiday activities for schoolchildren

As part of Kent County Council’s Reconnect scheme for young people this summer, the University is hosting four days of free sports and arts activities for 11 to 15-year-olds next week.

Reconnect is the council’s scheme to encourage young people to reconnect, socialise and take part in fun activities following the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are limited spaces available – on a first-come, first-served basis – for University staff to book their children to join the exciting programme of physical activities and creative arts sessions.

Sports sessions will be led by Kent’s Sports Development Team and include tennis, football and cricket alongside other physical activities and challenges within its campus sports facilities.

Creative arts sessions, including drama, will be delivered by the Gulbenkian Team.

Sessions will cater for all abilities and will take place either side of a free healthy lunch.

Reconnect at Kent runs from Monday 23 to Thursday 26 August (10am-3pm each day).

Individuals can register to attend and find out more by visiting Kent Hospitality’s Reconnect at Kent webpage.

Life on Campus

From Nikki Hyde, Deputy Director of Human Resources

Celebrating our campuses as more of us come back to Kent

After such a long gap, it’s hard to believe it’s now nearly time for those who’ve been working off-site to return to their desks. When we first started thinking about our roadmap for staff coming back, it still felt a bit like planning with our eyes closed – and let’s face it, none of us thought it would take this long when we first learnt the language of Teams back in March 2020. 

So, while the impact of the pandemic has thankfully lessened, we recognise what a big impact it’s had on us all. That’s why we’ve put together our Life on Campus programme from 23 August – 17 September to help everyone prepare for our 20 September target of everyone being largely campus-based again. 

I’m sure many will have a few mixed feelings about the return, including those of you who’ve been working on campus throughout – it’s about to get a whole lot busier! It’s going to take time for everyone to adjust and we’ll all need support as we come back; plus a reminder of how special our spaces are and what they mean to us all as a community. 

Something for everyone

We hope there’s something for everyone. All staff can bring their family along to a special day for staff at bOing! on Friday 27 August, including a fantastical VR performance of Alice in Wonderland. Teams can get together for a free game of bat and trap or petanque throughout the month or use our tented village on the Registry Lawn for outdoor meetings, while our Sustainability team will be running special tours that showcase our beautiful surroundings. You can even grab a free coffee with a colleague as a good excuse to get chatting in person again. There are also some more practical things to think about – getting up to speed with what we’ll have in place to keep everyone safe or making sure you’ve popped back to reboot your computer in good time. We’re all going to be learning together, which is the main message in the guidance we’ve put together in our new Future of Work Staff Resource Pack. 

All of this will culminate in our first Staff Conference, where we want to start bringing our community back together after so much disruption. Everyone is also invited to either the Medway Summer Fete on 8 September or the Canterbury Summer Fete on the 17th, so we all get a chance to be together in person for a BBQ on our lawns before the next term begins. 

Having been on site recently, our spaces really are looking beautiful and more than ready to welcome you all, bringing life back onto our campuses before our students join us for the next academic year. I look forward to seeing you there. 

Nikki Hyde | Deputy Director of Human Resources

Wooden sign reads: Welcome to community garden

Sustainability team sessions

Throughout September 2021, you can enjoy all things sustainable at Kent. From getting to know our Kent Community Oasis Garden to getting back to nature on a trail walk, the Sustainability team has organised an array of fun activities for you to take part in.

Here’s what in store:

Wednesday 1 September, 12.30 – Sustainability trail and (optional) picnic lunch at the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Location Leaving from the Senate and finishing at the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Environmental Advisor Catherine Morris will be leading a tour of campus following the Sustainable Development Goals trail. Hear about everything Kent is doing for Sustainability, from our net zero carbon targets to our plans to embed sustainability into the curriculum. On
the tour, you can find out how to get involved, ask questions and have your say on
what you think Kent should be doing. The tour will take approximately one hour and finish at
the Kent Community Oasis garden in Parkwood where you are welcome to stay and enjoy a
picnic lunch (bring your own).

Thursday 9 September, 13.00 Campus Nature Trail

Location – Leaving from The Venue Nightclub and finishing at Beckett Court

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason will be giving staff a guided tour through part of the
campus nature trail. Find out more about the species you can expect to see on campus, how we
manage the campus for Biodiversity and how our new landscape and biodiversity strategy
will be implemented. The tour will take approximately one hour and include walking on trails
and uneven surfaces so please wear appropriate footwear.

Thursday 16 September, 13.00 – Central campus nature walk (accessible)

Location – Leaving from the Marlowe Building entrance and finishing at Darwin college

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason and Environmental Adviser Catherine Morris will be
giving staff a guided tour focusing on the natural environment of central campus. Find out
more the species you can expect to see on central campus and how to identify trees and
birds. Hear about how we manage the central campus for Biodiversity and how our new
landscape and biodiversity strategy will be implemented. The tour will take approximately
one hour.

Wednesday 22 September, 13.00 – Introduction to the Kent Community Oasis Garden

Location – Kent Community Oasis Garden (Parkwood)

Sustainability coordinator Emily Mason will be giving staff a guided tour of the campus
garden and talking about the plans over the next year. Find out more about what the garden
does and the benefits for the University and wider community. The tour will take
approximately 20-30 minutes and then there will be an opportunity for anyone who wishes to
stay and do some gardening.

To book onto any of these sessions, please email clearly stating
which event you would like to join.

Activities for you and your team to enjoy

As you return to campus, be sure to make the most of our outdoor space, including a Tented Village. With additional seating now available in the village and across Canterbury campus for the rest of the year, you and your team can get together outside and enjoy informal in-person meetings in the fresh air.

From 23 August – 20 September there will also be a range of  team-building initiatives to help bring new and old teams back together.

Options available include: 

At Canterbury:

  • Petanque, Bat and Trap, Ladder Golf, Mollky and a range of group activities – provided by Kent Sport
  • Tombola
  • A selection of ‘pub games’ (giant Jenga, skittles)

To book activities at Canterbury, use this Outlook link

At Medway:

  • Giant Chess
  • Giant 4 in a row
  • Giant Jenga
  • Raffle Drum
  • Shootout Hoops
  • Bex Ladder
  • Rope Deck Quoits
  • Croquet set
  • Skittles
  • Rounders

To book activities at Medway, use this Outlook link.


Coffee with colleagues

As we return to campus there’s plenty to look forward to and catching up with our colleagues over a nice cup of coffee is one of them!

From 23 August – 20 September, there will a Buy One Get One Free offer available at both Canterbury and Medway campuses!

On Canterbury campus visit the Gulbenkian and Dolche Vita café , where if you buy two hot drinks, you’ll get the cheapest one free. All you have to do is show off your staff ID card!

On Medway campus visit the Starbucks café located in the Pembroke Building to claim your free coffee with the Buy One Get One Free offer. Show your staff ID card and add your name to the list that the café staff will provide.

Be sure to make the most of this offer and enjoy seeing your colleagues in-person!